We are becoming increasingly comfortable using the internet to help manage our day-to-day lives. Transactions which would once have taken hours, and even days, now happen at the touch of a button. We trust the Internet with our grocery shopping, correspondence, banking, dating and, increasingly, our health.

But almost daily reports of illegal websites and fraudsters can erode our confidence, making it difficult to know who to trust and where to turn. We want the convenience, but we do not want to be tricked and cheated into a transaction we might live to regret.

Online pharmacy is one area which has been subject to abuse by unscrupulous individuals looking to make a profit from selling counterfeit medication. These websites rely on their ability to dazzle unwitting consumers with their ‘bargain’ prices and ‘unmissable’ offers.

Fake pills containing talcum powder and much worse have been seized in what appears to be a never-ending battle against peddlers of fake goods.

So where does that leave you, the patient? You might want to use an online pharmacy to avoid having to go in store, whether for reasons of convenience or privacy. But how can you be REALLY sure that what you are buying is the real deal?

Luckily, there are a few ways in which you can test the legitimacy of an online pharmacy:

  • Does the site carry a GPhC and MHRA logo? Click on the links, do they work?
  • Is there a phone number you can call? Does that phone number actually connect to a human being? Can you speak to a pharmacist?
  • Does the site belong to a registered UK-based pharmacy?
  • Is the site offering prescription only medication without a prescription? If so, walk away.

Prescription only medication is prescription only for a reason. It requires the involvement of a GP enabling them to diagnose the condition and identify the best medicine to treat the individual patient. If a site is offering medication without a prescription, the message is simple: do not buy it – it is illegal and there is a strong chance that what you are buying will be fake and could adversely affect your health.

If you are concerned, feel free to pick up the phone and talk to me, or one of my team, on: 01295 262925.

Pharmacist, Stuart Gale, is the owner and manager of the Frost Pharmacy Group, which comprises three pharmacies in Banbury and Oxford as well as the online dispensing arm of the business